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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14199/liberty-not-to-kill-trees/

Liberty To Not Kill Trees

October 11, 2010 by

The great Liberty magazine, edited by R.W. Bradford from 1987 to 2005 and since then by Stephen Cox, has decided to abandon paper and become a completely online journal. This is a harbinger of things to come, as the publishing world adapts to the advent of the Internet and digital information. My own journal, Libertarian Papers, was founded in 2009 as an online journal; and, perhaps presaging things to come, Liberty‘s entire archive was recently put online on Mises.org. Cox himself, a brilliant writer, is also the heroic co-editor (with the brilliant Paul Cantor) of the critically acclaimed Literature and the Economics of Liberty: Spontaneous Order in Culture–published in free online epub and pdf format by the Mises Institute. The November 2010 issue contains the following editorial:

From the Editor

I want to make an announcement about an important change in Liberty. After our next issue — December 2010 — Liberty will cease to be a print journal. Thereafter it will appear online, in a free, fully revised website that will carry features, reviews, reflections, comments from readers, and a complete archive of all the issues we have published since our founding in 1987.

This is a big change, and it brings both happy and unhappy thoughts. Unhappy, because we all value the printed word and the familiar appearance of Liberty. Happy, because online publication will enable our authors’ contributions to appear more frequently, and closer to the events on which they comment. And I predict that an online site will bring us more readers.

My thoughts right now, however, are with the people who read and support Liberty today. One of the great things about editing Liberty is the opportunity to meet its readers. They are great people – and I don’t even mind it when they yell at me. So I want all our readers to know why we’re making the transition from print to online publishing.

One reason is that these are bad financial times, and especially bad for print publications. Like every other intellectual journal in the country, we lose money. Actually, we lose a lot less than most, because we have a tiny staff and we are very careful about what we spend. But unlike many other intellectual journals, we are not sponsored by a large institution. This is good, because we have retained our independence, or what some have called our eccentricity or “quirkiness.” But it means that if we continue in print publication, we will have to stop in the easily foreseeable future. Online publication will allow us to continue indefinitely.

A second reason for the transition is the challenge that print publication presents to our very small and very busy staff. Some of its members have been with Liberty from the start, 23 years ago. But producing a print journal demands a tremendous commitment of time, and some of us find that this commitment has become impossible to sustain.

A third reason is simply that online publication appears to be the way to interest more readers. I myself spend large amounts of time reading news and commentary online, and much of what I read is very good. Our founder, R.W. Bradford, often spoke of the possibility that the day of online publication had come for virtually all intellectual journals. I think he would have wanted to see Liberty’s tradition continue in a form that is immediately accessible to everyone, throughout the world.

So our next print issue will be our last — in that form. We will, of course, send refunds for the unused portions of subscriptions. (Please don’t think you need to write and ask us about that!) In our next issue, I’ll tell you more about our new online way of publishing.

But again, the important person is you. You’ve supported Liberty with your subscriptions, your donations, your praise, your criticism, and your friendship always. I hope you will continue to support us as we change our way of coming to your home.

For Liberty,

Stephen Cox

I think this is an exciting development and wish them well!

Update: Cox’s editorial from the December 2010 (final print issue):

In our November issue, I announced that this would be the last print issue of Liberty. When you read these words, Liberty will have changed to an online journal. All of us will miss the look and feel of printed pages, but we at Liberty believe that we will not only lighten our costs but also increase our readership by going online.

The most important thing for us, however, is to keep our extraordinarily loyal readers with us. To make sure we do, I want to tell you more about Liberty online. To start with, it will be free. No fees; just go to libertyunbound.com and you’ll be at home again. By the way, if you subscribe to the print version of Liberty now, we’ll be refunding the unused portion of your subscription.

The online version of Liberty will publish features, reviews, and reflections, just as we do now; but you won’t have to wait a month to see them. They’ll be posted as soon as they’re ready for publication. The online version will also invite you to post your own comments. And don’t worry about having to wade through a lot of irrelevant or obscene remarks, sent by people who have nothing better to do. We’ll make sure that the posted comments, whatever views they express, make for civilized debate.

A special feature of Liberty online will be an archive of Liberty’s quarter-century of print publication — not just a few articles, but the whole of each issue. It will be one of the largest libraries of libertarian writing ever assembled.

I recently spent a day just browsing through some of the thousands of items contained in this library. I wasn’t surprised to find that Liberty has published virtually every important writer in the libertarian world. Nor was I surprised to find that every kind of writer is represented — statesmen, convicts, economists, historians, vagabonds, poets, philosophers — and every kind of subject. What struck me was how many things seemed new, enlightened, and enlightening. I found myself grinning with appreciation over the stunning arguments for ideas that I happen to favor, and worrying about the clever thrusts that good writers made against them. And always I was thinking, How great it is to read something that’s truly individual! No tired op-eds here. Liberty has always spoken with a thousand voices, and none of them predictable.

Liberty represents and explains, as no other journal has, the history of the libertarian movement. It has published more about our history than any other journal, and even the strictly historical articles are as fresh as dawn. Don’t take my word for it; go to libertyunbound.com and see for yourself.

In 1987, R.W. Bradford founded Liberty as a journal devoted to publishing the best libertarian writing available. For 23 years, we’ve done just that. We’re continuing to do so, in our new online format. We thank you for your loyalty. We ask for your support, as always — the support of the liveliest and most discerning readers in the world for a journal written and produced for their enjoyment.

For Liberty,
Stephen Cox


Encinitas computer repair October 11, 2010 at 11:55 am

Well, for me it’s a huge leap. Maybe some will not like their development, but i wish them well, for it’s a simple way of being eco-friendly

HL October 11, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Trees are the ultimate “renewable resource.” A printed journal, once it has been printed, consumes no more energy. Geeks on PC’s consume huge quanttities of energy. Trees are aplenty, energy is becoming scarce due to government interventions. (Btw, I think based on my own experience that many folks will print the journal upon receipt anyway.)

The format switch is great for the jounral, me and many others, but it is not “eco-friendly” per se.

BioTube October 11, 2010 at 10:58 pm

When you consider the fact that the energy used to deliver the paper is more polluting than the energy used to run a computer, it really is. Add in the fact that most computers use less than 600 watts while engines are measured in hundreds of horsepower(with each horsepower measuring 730-750 watts, depending on your specific definition) and you end up with the fact that a computer going full-out uses less energy than an engine idling.

MB October 11, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Sad. Long been a Liberty subscriber. When they did a recent big sale of back issues, I was able to complete my set of them (this was before Mises put them all on-line).

Tyrone Dell October 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm

I applaud Stephen Cox in his decision to do this. There’s nothing more pathetic than seeing these print journals and newspapers struggle to keep alive these days. Its nice to know Cox and Cantor aren’t Luddites! ;p

David Farrer October 11, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Sad to read this. I have every copy here at home in Edinburgh.

Nevertheless, good luck to the Liberty team.

Stephan Kinsella October 11, 2010 at 2:39 pm

David, why is it sad? The journal will go on, and it will be even better because more accessible and cheaper and more efficient to operate all around.

David Farrer October 12, 2010 at 12:54 am

Sad because I like paper. I like books and magazines. And I like printed newspapers. It’s probably a matter of one’s age! Admittedly we’d get by with a smaller house if everything had always been electronic…

Yesterday I read an article in Liberty on a very short bus journey. It would have taken too long to dig out the mobile phone and log on. Besides, who mugs someone for a magazine?

Stephan Kinsella October 12, 2010 at 10:59 am

David, gotcha. Yes, change is sometimes unwelcome. It’s not always unambiguously positive. But there are many positive aspects to this move and most of the negatives can be overcome–you can print out articles if you want; etc. Anyway, at least the content will still be there–better an online Liberty than an out of print paper Liberty.

Mark F. October 11, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I honestly don’t see many dead tree newspapers or magazines left in a few years. This format is going the way of the dinousaurs. I have a libertarian friend who does not have a computer. I keep telling him that he can’t possibly keep up on what is going on by reading a dead tree newspaper, watching Fox , getting his paper copy of Reason and listening to right-wing talk radio.

RWW October 11, 2010 at 10:49 pm

in b4 split infinitive

JK October 12, 2010 at 6:25 am

I was hoping Liberty would come out in Kindle form. Maybe the online will be downloadable as a PDF to the Kindle.

Jeff Allenbrand November 6, 2010 at 1:15 am

Ever since I found out about this I have been miserable. I first discovered Libertarianism via Liberty purchased from a book store many years ago. I do not read and never will read so called online journalism. I would have rather Liberty ceased to exist in any form than to see it degraded like this. If financial reasons led to this sad event I suppose one must except it but to me the positive claims put forth by Mr. Cox ring hollow. The Libertarian cause desperately needs representation in print. Print unlike the internet is permanent rather than fleeting. With the passing of Liberty only The Freeman and Reason remain. I include Reason out of a desire to be exact but have never seen that publication as anything more than marginally Libertarian.

I hope that some day in the future someone with the resources will come along and found a new Libertarian journal in print that will continue what R. W. Bradford began 23 years ago.

Liberty – 1987-2010 R.I.P.

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